Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil endorsed dual citizenship for Mongolians and confirmed last week to address citizenship-related problems of Mongolians living abroad through a bill on dual citizenship.

In the past 16 years, more than 4,400 Mongolian children were born abroad, according to the National Registration and Statistical Office. These children should naturally be registered under Mongolian citizenship just like their parents, but majority of them have German or American citizenships as Mongolia doesn’t permit dual citizenship.

At present, there are some 130,000 Mongolians facing citizenship-related problems overseas and every year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs receives ceaseless requests, urging a favorable legal environment for dual citizenship for Mongolians, according to Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil. He explained that this was a matter of Mongolia’s national security and that a new legislation would be formulated to settle this issue.

Ts.Munkh-Orgil
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil

“Many Mongolians living abroad ask to let them stay under Mongolian citizenship because they want to be able to travel to and back from Mongolia to meet their families and maintain their connection to Mongolia. Dual citizenship is prohibited according to the Mongolian Nationality Law. In the past, the President of Mongolia submitted a draft bill related to this matter. Soon, the Professional Government will complete and submit a draft bill to regulate dual citizenship. This matter will be resolved one way or another,” stressed Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil.

This statement was one of many surprise decisions by the new ruling party, the Mongolian People’s Party. As mentioned by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, President Ts.Elbegdorj submitted a draft bill on Mongolian nationality to Parliament earlier this year. Ts.Munkh-Orgil says that approving the bill would immediately kick off a policy to bring back Mongolians living abroad to Mongolia and issue the Khukh Unemlekh (Blue Certificate) for authorizing their permanently stay. However, the President’s Office clarified that the draft bill doesn’t touch on dual citizenship or on providing legal environment for it.

L.Bold
MP L.Bold

Dual citizenship was a hot topic after the parliamentary election in 2012. Back then, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold expressed a strong opposing view on dual citizenship, saying, “I will never allow Mongolia to become a place where people go back and forth or become a victim of another country’s hidden agenda”.

When prodded further, L.Bold explained, “Geographically, we border with two big nations. Mongolia’s  population is small but it has vast resources. Dual citizenship is allowed in large countries like the USA and small countries in Europe, which have similar development, culture, and have several neighboring countries. Mongolia’s current status will never change.”

Experts in this matter hold the same position as L.Bold. They believe that dual citizenship would amplify risks of sudden changes in the demography especially when you consider Mongolia’s meager population of slightly over three million people. For this reason, Mongolia specified in the Constitution to not allow dual citizenship.

Dual citizenship offers certain benefits and privileges, such as the ability to live and work freely in two countries, own property in both, and travel between the countries with relative ease.

Currently, 58 countries allow dual citizenship, including Austria, Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, the USA, the UK, Switzerland, South Africa, Egypt, Iraq, Italia, Israel, Spain, Ukraine, Sweden, and Sri Lanka. However, these countries started enforcing a policy to restrict dual citizenship for ensuring national security.

Countries which Allow Dual Citizenship

The following countries allow the acquisition of another citizenship:

Countries

On the other hand, 16 countries don’t allow dual citizenship, including China, Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Norway, and Kazakhstan. There are two main reasons these countries don’t permit dual or multiple citizenship. Firstly, dual citizens have more disadvantages in terms of legal rights, as they are obliged to obey the laws of both countries. For example, there is a potential risk of double taxation. Secondly, dual citizenship is considered a threat to national security because allowing the freedom to become a multinational billionaire in Mongolia will attract tons of people. Experts explain that the Mongolian nationality could perish in the future if people of various nationalities permanently settle in Mongolia using dual citizenship.

Countries which Do Not Allow Dual Citizenship

The following countries do not allow the acquisition of another citizenship:

countries2

The Mongolian government attempted to establish dual citizenship several times before and each time, it was dismissed. This time, it has progressed much further than before and the current government plans to submit a draft bill on dual citizenship in the parliamentary fall session, according to sources close to the issue. Approval of the draft bill is undeniably highly anticipated by Mongolian children and young people. However, is it right to approve something that has a potential to lead to the loss of the Mongolian identity for the sake of some 130,000 Mongolians who no longer live in their home country?

5 COMMENTS

  1. The Mongolian constitution forbids removing Mongolian citizenship. So how can the government enforce a law against dual nationality? What is the punishment for having dual nationality?

    This is a case where the constitution and the law appear to be in contradiction. Normally, the constitution would take the higher priority.

  2. I am disappointed at the xenophobic aspects on this subject. There is no danger to Mongolia if a citizen born and raised in this country, now lives in another and has a passport of that country. Nor is there any danger following the logic of the above article of a final solution to wipe out Mongolia by the infiltration of Chinese/Russian/Kazak etc etc special born babies. The author’s comment on potential loss of Mongolian identity is total scaremongering nonsense. National security is ensured when the country is properly populated (amongst many other factors). It should be the duty of Mongolia to increase its population by whatever means possible and given the current child mortality rating of Mongolia and the relatively low unfocused health and related investment, that rating will not move significantly for a long time. So it is up to the expat Mongolians to do their duty and produce more healthy babies as citizens as a benefit for this country purely on numbers but also to raise awareness in the foreign society they live in, to appreciate Mongolia in the practical ways of cultural and business exchange with the hope that they may someday return. They should be encouraged in their duty and not be subject to the bashing some misguided people are eager to continue with. Dual (or more) citizenship is a clear benefit to Mongolia.

  3. One thing some countries do in regards to dual citizenship is to restrict dual citizenship to a limited group of nations rather than all nations. Nations such as Spain and Pakistan have policies such as this. If it wished, Mongolia could allow dual citizenship with a small list of countries that it has or wishes to have stronger economic & cultural ties with, or countries with high numbers of immigrants from Mongolia. At the same time Mongolia would exclude from this list nations that have largely incompatible cultures or present an unacceptable demographic risk. Admittedly it’s not a “fair” policy, but it would help alleviate national security and demographic concerns with dual citizenship while allowing Mongolia to retain links with Mongolians in foreign countries, especially those who have acquired valuable education and skills. Combine this with a requirement that no Mongolian with dual citizenship can hold a high position in the military or the government, and it should minimize the risks of foreign governments and cultures having undue influence in Mongolia’s policies. Not a perfect solution, but perhaps a workable one.

  4. Solution is very easy. Mongolia should just allow Mongolian citizens to hold dual (triple whatever number) of passports. Also they can explicitly say that foreigners wishing to become Mongolian citizens should get official supporting document that they gave up their home country. This way only Mongolians can hold dual citizenship. Moreover, Mongolia should allow baby born abroad from Mongolian parents to hold dual citizenship.

    As i know, Taiwan is the country with exact same policy. Taiwanese allowed to hold dual citizenship. However, foreigners can’t get dual citizenship of Taiwan.

  5. The ppl that would have (and be allowed to have) dual Mongolian and other citizenship would be 1) children born abroad with Mongolian parents, 2) children born abroad or in Mongolia with mixed nationality parents whereof one would be Mongolian. If you limit the dual citizenship to these two groups, which is the case in many countries, there is no issue with regards to any Mongolian identity, in fact it will only have positive impact on Mongolia. It would facilitate investment, cultural and family links, etc, it would in fact strength the Mongolian identity. Other foreigner who would like to acquire Mongolian citizenship would have to abide by Mongolian immigration laws which is a different issue – and note that immigration to Mongolia is very marginal and will likely not increase in the foreseeable future. Final point, I know many Mongolians abroad who have Mongolian and other passport and citizenship…

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